Pioneer Valley Weavers News

November 1, 2022

We are a guild of weavers united by our common fascination with the interlacement of fibers. Some of us are just beginning to enjoy weaving, others are fairly proficient and a few are professional weavers. Several of us are at the loom every day while others struggle to find small bits of time in which to weave.

We weave on large looms in separate rooms devoted just to weaving and small looms on the kitchen table. We gather to encourage and learn from each other. PVW is the sum of our actions, reflected in our reputation.

Our meetings are held on the 2nd Tuesday from September through June at WEBS, 75 Service Center Road, Northampton, MA, in Classroom 3.


Pioneer Valley Weavers wish to express their gratitude to WEBS for their long-term and generous support of our Guild and our programs.

November Presentation

Setts in All Their Glory and The Yarn Balance Lecture

Susan Conovert

Susan Conover began spinning and weaving in 1980 and spent the next four decades studying under numerous international teachers. Her focus has always been on the historic aspects of the craft. Since 2000, she has offered two- to five-day courses in spinning and weaving from her home studio.

Her expertise has included being Operations Manager at Vävstuga Weaving School in Shelburne Falls, MA for five years. She specializes in lectures and workshops for guilds and craft schools throughout the country. Susan is always willing to share her passion for weaving and spinning with her students!

Susan Conover will cover the puzzling topic of obtaining the correct sett when it comes to your next project. This lecture is filled with oodles of pertinent information for the handweaver of any experience level.
The lecture begins with a short history and maintenance of weaving reeds (carbon and stainless steel) including storage solutions and rusty reed prevention and repair. Plus a nifty conversion chart for Imperial vs.metric reed sizing.

Susan then moves into the nitty-gritty with:

  • The Master Yarn Chart
  • Reed Substitution Charts
  • Yarn WrappingsStretchy, stiff, and handspun yarns-Obtaining the correct sett
  • Number of times that the weft intersects the plane of the cloth in one repeat
  • Firm setts, slippery yarn setts and drapey setts
  • Calculating your shrinkage in both warp and weft
  • A cameo project will be a sett sampler in plain weave and twill which participants may enjoy weaving at home

The last bit of this lecture will cover The Yarn Balance (aka the McMorran Balance) which is a handy device to measure the approximate yards per pound of a chosen yarn. A must for any handweaver who wants to identify the grist of their “stash”.


Zoom Basics

Zoom is a nice alternative to in–person meetings. It may seem scary but it’s easy!

You can join by your computer, your laptop or your phone. You don’t need to subscribe to Zoom to participate. You can join with audio only or audio and video. If you block your camera with tape, remember to remove the tape. The option exists to have a fake background instead of your real location. Just set that in Zoom prior to the meeting using Settings, In Meeting Advanced, Virtual Backgrounds. Make people think you’re vacationing on a Hawaiian island!

A link will be sent by the Host and looks something like this:

Click on the blue link and it will bring you into the Zoom site. You will then get this:

Click on “Launch meeting”. Then this box might appear:

Click on “Allow” and you should then see a box saying connecting, which means the host has acknowledged you and is bringing you into the meeting or you will get the following screen

which means the meeting has not begun and you will be connected when the Host starts the meeting. Test your audio and increase the sound if needed. You can also see what you look like in the video. Lighting and the angle of your screen can make a big difference. Play with it before the meeting starts.

It is advisable to join from 10 to 15 minutes before the time of the meeting. Once the meeting starts, the Host will be engaged and may not see you enter for a while. If joining by phone, use the teleconferencing number provided on the invite. Once part of the meeting, you have the ability to mute yourself and listen without video with buttons that are on the bottom left of the screen. (If they don’t show, fiddle with your mouse and they should appear.) On the top bar are the viewing options, which are Speaker View (the person speaking is large and the other participants are thumbnails) and Gallery View (showing all participants the same size; size is dependent on the number of participants). If you use a phone or laptop the gallery view may not fit and you may need to scroll up and down to see all participants. During a presentation, you can move the gallery view to the top or side. If in speaker view, you can move the speaker (click and drag) around to minimize the effect on the presentation. Play with the different options, it won’t hurt anything. If struggling, ask the host for help, if possible. When in Gallery View, the person speaking at the moment will have a yellow frame around their picture.

When done, click on the red leave meeting button on the bottom right. First, you hit “Leave”, then another button saying “Leave Meeting” will show. Hit that button and you are out! Now wasn’t that easy???


Chair’s Corner

We are fortunate to live in a time of easily accessible information and there are so many resources available to weavers. I’ll pass along to you those I discover and enjoy. Handweavers Guild of America,, is a major source of information and inspiration. One of the programs offered by HGA is, Textiles & Tea, and weekly online program featuring a 45 minute discussion with a current fiber artist followed by a 15 minute audience question period. The broadest is available through Zoom and Facebook Live and are free to view and open to all. Previous episodes are listed and available for viewing. Textiles & Tea is found under Member Programs. Have fun exploring the many offerings available on the HGA website.

Nina Laurie


Membership in PVW renews annually.

The guild year runs from July 1st through June 30th. Dues are $30., which includes monthly programs from September through June, access to PVW’s vast Library, discounted workshop fees, and access to our loaner looms and our Newsletter. Other benefits are occasional notices of outside workshops, looms and equipment for sale, exhibits from other guilds, reduced entry fees for NEWS exhibits, and inclusion on the NEWS Guild Table Display. To maintain membership, dues must be received on or before the October meeting.

Our Membership Chair is Peggy Wolff. You can mail your check for $30. made to Pioneer Valley Weavers to Peggy at 126 Cave Hill Road, Leverett, MA 01054